Greenpeace activists halt tuna trading at European Seafood Exposition

Press release - April 23, 2008
Eighty Greenpeace activists from 15 countries today closed down the stands of five large tuna suppliers at the European Seafood Exposition. Greenpeace is calling on the companies to stop trading in threatened bluefin, yellowfin and bigeye tuna and other unsustainably-caught tuna until stocks recover.

Activists covered the stands (1) with fishing nets, chained themselves to the stands and put up banners in 13 languages saying; 'Time and Tuna running out'. A large banner with the same message was hung from the front of the building. A message was also broadcast through the exhibition halls' public address systems urging traders to buy only sustainably-caught seafood.

"These companies are major players in the tuna industry and are jointly destroying tuna stocks by overfishing and using destructive fishing methods", said Sebastian Losada, Greenpeace Spain Oceans Campaigner. "Blatant overfishing will lead to commercial extinction of many tuna stocks in the near future unless urgent action is taken."

"Tuna stocks are at a critically low level with too many vessels fishing for too few fish. High levels of bycatch of other marine life is a serious problem", said Losada. "If the industry doesn't shift towards sustainable seafood there will simply be no fish left to trade, and their businesses will be closed forever."

Last year, Greenpeace attended the Seafood Exposition (2) to call on companies to trade in sustainable seafood only. Since then, Greenpeace has been contacting leading retailers and bulk users of seafood to ask them to ensure what they sell is legal, sustainable and fair. Nina Thuellen, Greenpeace International Seafood Markets Campaigner: "Greenpeace is disappointed to see that while some retailers are now in the process of implementing sustainable seafood policies there remains a very high volume of unsustainable seafood on offer at this important trade show."

Meanwhile, the Greenpeace ship Esperanza is in the Pacific Ocean, taking action against overfishing and calling for the creation of marine reserves (3). Fishing vessels involved in unsustainable, unfair and sometimes even illegal tuna fishing in the region are damaging the tuna stocks and are threatening the future of the Pacific Island States that depend on tuna for their livelihoods and food.

Greenpeace advocates the creation of a network of marine reserves, protecting 40 per cent of the world's oceans, as the long term solution to overfishing and the recovery of our overexploited oceans.

Other contacts: Evandro Oliveira, Greenpeace International Media OfficerTel: +31 653504718Sebastian Losada, Greenpeace Spain, CampaignerTel: +34 626998254 Nina Thuellen, Greenpeace International Seafood Markets Campaigner. Tel: +43 664 5484553For more information on the Esperanza tour please contact:Dean Baigent-Mercer, Communications Officer on board the Esperanza Tel: +872 324 469 014 (GMT + 11)

VVPR info: Greenpeace International Photodesk: John Novis: +00 31 (0) 6 290 01162Greenpeace International Videodesk: +00 31 (0) 6 461 62015

Notes: 1) The trading stands closed down by Greenpeace are Mitsubishi Corporation (Japan), the world's largest tuna trader; Ricardo Fuentes (Spain), which controls an estimated 60% of bluefin tuna production in the Mediterranean; Dongwon Fisheries (Korea), which holds more than a 75% share of the Korean tuna market; Azzopardi Fisheries (Malta), which operates the largest tuna farming operation in the Mediterranean; and Moon Marine (Taiwan), a global operator heavily involved in tuna longline fisheries in Indonesia. 2) The European Seafood Exposition at the Parc des Expositions in Brussels is one of the world's largest seafood sales events with over 1,600 companies exhibiting from approximately 80 different countries. It attracts over 20,000 attendees from more than 140 countries, including decision-makers from companies that dominate the seafood industry in Europe and around the world, including retailers, caterers, importers, exporters, wholesalers and processors. 3) Greenpeace activists from the Esperanza deployed a banner reading 'Marine Reserves Now' near the bow of the Korean purse seine vessel Olympus. The ship is owned by Dongwon Industries Co. Ltd, whose stand at the European Seafood Exposition is among those that have been closed down today.